I asked myself that same question. Like, really…do I really need to meditate? Well, in my opinion, the answer can be different for everyone. However, after really practicing it for the past month I would recommend it for everyone. In this post, I share some information about meditation, some apps I use to help me practice the skill and how it could work for you.
What is meditation anyway? The definition is the written or spoken discourse expressing one’s thoughts on a subject. To me, meditation is about getting inside that deep, dark space in your brain that contains your thoughts and feelings and sometimes has the answers you’re looking for. It is a skill that must be practiced too, because it’s not easy…not even for a coach like me. There are a variety of ways to meditate, but as a beginner, focus on guided meditation until you can hone the skill.
At my full-time job, I’ve taken guided meditation classes and either on a teleconference or in person, the instructor will lead us to a place that hones in on our thoughts, our wants and our needs. The instructor will play some soft, quiet music, have us close our eyes and speak to us in a low volume that instructs us how to get to that deep, dark place inside our brain. She asks us to focus on a question that we’ve been wanting the answer to and then stays quiet for a bit. This quiet allows our brain to process the thoughts swarming in our head and helps the answer to the question we have come out. She then brings us back to reality in that low volume and we awaken with a sense of calm. Funny how just sitting there, quietly and thinking will make us feel so relaxed and focused.
As I said, meditation is not an easy thing to do. But because I know the benefits (which we’ll get to) that meditation can have, I needed to start practicing it regularly. I decided to check out some apps for guided meditations. I decided to choose two for now, at least until I can decide which is right for me. The first is Welzen.
Welzen is a free app on iPhone that provides mindfulness meditations. It has a 5-day intro series to help you learn how to meditate, which I thought was fantastic. Especially when you’re first starting out. It also has a daily meditation that changes each day. And it has categorized meditations that focus on a specific area of need. Things like stress, work, relationships, etc. The meditations last approximately 5 minutes so they’re quick and easy to do. You can subscribe to Welzen for a monthly, yearly or indefinite time period, but the free version works well enough for me.
The other app I decided to try was Calm. This app is similar in that it brings mindful meditations to the listener and has a variety of categorized meditations to try out. It’s also great for beginners because it has a 7-day series to help you get started. The guided meditation sessions range in time from 3 minutes to 25 minutes leaving it up to the listener to decide what to choose which meditation works for the time available. Calm also offers a daily meditation. The additional benefits of Calm are what I loved even more. Calm offered breathing exercise, sleep stories, unguided timed meditations and more than 25 nature sounds to play in the background. It even tracks your progress to see how often you meditate and how you improve the more you practice.
One thing to be leery of is the number of apps out there. I did some research before I choose one and hey, I ended up choosing two to work with. Mindful Magazine created a go-to list of mindfulness apps last month and Calm is one of the apps recommended. To see the full list, click here.
So what are the benefits of using these apps? What will they do for you?
- Meditating regularly can help you sleep better and can even be a permanent solution to insomnia.
- Meditating can help manage stress and anxiety.
- Meditating can increase focus and productivity.
- Meditating can improve relationships.
- Meditating can improve creativity.
Why are there so many benefits? I mentioned earlier how going to the deep, dark place in your brain can sometimes help you answer questions you might have but cannot seem to find the answer. Meditation can open up that pathway to the answer and by finding the answer to something that’s bugging you, you open up the pathway to a healthier life. I can tell you, since I’ve started meditating, I have had deeper sleep than I have had in the past 35 years! Yup, it’s true!
So back to the question at hand. Do you really need to meditate? The straightforward answer is no, but I would highly recommend it to the person that needs answers in life, that wants to life a healthier life and to the person that wants a more fulfilling life. And if your not sure, download one of the apps and try it. You might just fall in love with meditation. Let me know which app you end up choosing.
If you’ve already had some experience with it, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Share your comments below and tell me what meditation has done for you!